Mastitis in cattle. The dilemma of Prevention.

SUMMARY: owing to the fact that bovine mastitis is a multifactorial disease (like other diseases in any farming production), a holistic approach is needed in order to take every opportunity to prevent bovine mastitis.

Bovine mastitis is a multifactorial disease. Like many other diseases in livestock, not only do infections cause mastitis in dairy cows, but nutrition, management, environment etc., are also important factors to be taken into account in the prevention of bovine mastitis.
This holistic approach is needed in order to have a minimum opportunity of success in the control of mastitis in cattle.

But bovine mastitis is probably the paradigm of cost-limited factors in any farming production. It is globally admitted that mastitis is the most costly disease on dairy farms, with a 7-9% shortfall in dairy revenue. So prevention should be considered crucial in order to avoid these losses.
Multifactorial diseases in farm animals are quite common amongst the different food-producing species. For example, diarrhoea in piglets or lambs is also well known in farming production, as are diseases with multiple and different origins.

In addition to good management practices, vaccination plays a key role in the control of these
multifactorial diseases. Of course, very good diagnostic tools are needed to select the right vaccine in order to avoid mistakes. But in modern farming operations, vaccines are widely used as the principal tool together with other good production practices.

Dairy farming is becoming more and more professional everywhere. The quality standards required by final consumers and dairy industries force dairy farmers to produce in accordance with the highest quality requirements, and this means vaccination.

Nowadays we have several vaccines available for the prevention of different bovine and small ruminants mastitis. And soon we’ll have a new vaccine available for the control of Streptococcus uberis mastitis in cattle.

The use of vaccines for mastitis prevention has to be the key to solving the dilemma of mastitis prevention in ruminants. Sooner or later the rate of vaccination will be comparable to other farming species, and dairy farmers will be considered high level professionals together with swine or poultry farmers.

Author: Javier Sanz Martin , Marketing director at HIPRA